Date Night In West Cork
Where better to spend a romantic night enjoying great food with your loved one, than in the place just voted Ireland’s best Foodie Destination for 2017? This great honour was bestowed recently upon West Cork, the region which has driven the artisan food movement of Ireland for four decades.
West Cork was where the early artisans like Norman and Veronica Steele of Milleens and Jeffa Gill of Durrus Cheese first made a home and introduced their iconic products to the world. Add to the area’s numerous artisan specialities with the best fish and shellfish, superb lamb from the hills, fine beef grazed on pasture bathed by Atlantic Ocean mists, and you have a feast in the making.
The way to a man’s (or woman’s) heart is through the stomach, so they say. If you’re in the mood for love – head down West Cork way!
The Church Restaurant Skibbereen
If you’re feeling like proposing, you might just pick up the faint tinkle of wedding bells as you pop the question in this magnificent destination restaurant in Skibbereen.
The Church was once a working Methodist Church. It retains all it’s ecclesiastical beauty, marrying that in a graceful dining room with a culinary offering that represents the area on the plate. Regina Daly and her team are knowledgeable in where their ingredients come from and only too happy to make any dining occasion a special occasion. A super spot for a romantic date.
Dine in the glow of the wonderful original stained glass window, which takes up one entire wall at the rear of this building. Bask in the ambience and enjoy West Cork’s legendary hospitality. Be sure that if you are popping the question and the answer is yes, the whole place will want to celebrate with you! They don’t need much reason to have a party in West Cork!
Richy's Restaurant Clonakilty
Clonakilty is known for its lively buzz. A place where trad meets modern and the streets come to life with gorgeous hanging baskets over the shop windows and the sounds of the fiddle and the squeeze box. Richy’s Restaurant has been a long standing feature in the town for many years. Head Chef/Owner Richy Virahsawmy is known for his eclectic cooking style and firm commitment to local produce.
You’ll get fine fish and shellfish landed at the local pier in Ring, superb beef from farms bordering the Atlantic Ocean and local chicken and seasonal veggies. Richy also forages, so you may find seasonal wild ingredients like seaweed and samphire on the menu. Cosy up and get ready for a feast. Afterwards, you can take your love to a local bar where an impromptu trad session may strike up.
The Poacher's Inn, Bandon
Bandon is sometimes called the gateway to West Cork. It lies on the main N71 road which takes you out of Cork city, through the village of Innishannon, then into this old market town, one of the original walled towns of Ireland. From Bandon, you’ll move through Clonakilty and Skibbereen, deep into the heart of the West Cork region.
Poacher’s Inn takes its name from the days of salmon poaching on the mighty River Bandon which flows through the centre of town. Gone are the days when salmon poachers gathered in the local hostelry for a nod, a wink and a sneaky pint before a night’s work. Today this inn, owned by Barry and Catherine McLaughlin, is the place to relax with your loved one in friendly surroundings for a glorious feast. Barry is Head Chef, with a deep routed love of seafood. Catherine mans the front of house team.
Poacher’s welcomes faces old and new, a great stopping point for some of the best fish and seafood in this area. Barry trained at Ballymaloe Cookery School and spent time with Martin Shanahan at Fishy Fishy Café so he really knows his stuff. Be prepared to be wowed by his cooking skills and presentation. Poacher’s Inn also has a Cookery School on site. For a special occasion date, make a day of it by booking a bespoke class together then enjoying a fine meal in the restaurant in the evening. A date to remember.
Jim Edward's Kinsale
Kinsale marks the start or the end of the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route along the west coast of Ireland. The town enjoys a beautiful location on the ocean, with a harbour for a working fishing fleet and private yachts and motorcruisers. It’s little streets are lively at any time of year. Autumn is particularly lovely here, with amazing colours in the sky as the sun sets, and ethereal sea mists over the harbour in the early mornings.
At Jim Edwards, you can take both of these views in on your date by making a night of it. Book a table in the restaurant for some great local seafood, then stay over in one of the comfortable rooms above the restaurant and bar. That means you can wander into the bar after your meal to see what craic is going down. There’s bound to be some fun to be had – this is a fishing town with a lively residential community never short of a song, a bit of music or a tall story!
Breakfast is served in the restaurant, a feast of fresh baking and preserves and the hearty Full Irish to keep you going.
Fishy Fishy Kinsale
Martin Shanahan is still working the kitchens in Fishy Fishy, the place that made his name as one of the best fish cooks in Ireland. This TV Celebrity Chef and his wife Maire take nothing for granted, always believing that you are only as good as your last meal and its important to be there to meet customers in person.
If you’ve been to America, you may spot the influences in food styles as Martin, who returned from the USA to open this restaurant, cooks his seafood with the lightest of Stateside touches. He knows all his fisherman by name and gets the best of the catch from boats which land their fish right outside his door. Seafood loving couples will be in heaven. After your meal, a romantic stroll around the harbour and little streets of this town finishes things off nicely. Bliss.
B’s Restaurant At The Castle Hotel, Macroom
Macroom is a market town in rural West Cork. Away from the ocean, you get a different feel of West Cork life. You’ll catch a glimpse of country living in a town known for it’s Tuesday farmer’s market and weekly livestock sales at the local mart. Farming and agriculture was always a valuable asset in this town, surrounded by grazing pasture for top quality beef and hills for fine mountain lamb. Macroom has also churned out a few big names in Irish history. Birthplace of William Penn who went on to found the American State of Pennsylvania. Within walking distance of the site of the bloody Battle of Bealick, fought and won by Brian Boru against an army of mixed troops in the 900’s. For nature loving daters, a short drive away is the magical Gearagh region, which holds tales of sorrow, myth and legend. Here lived the fairies who wove magical spells to get people lost in the forest. And the ancient poitin makers who defied the law in a hidden place. The Gearagh is home to much rare wildlife and plantlife, a Special Area of Conservation unique to Ireland.
Amid all this local interest, The Castle Hotel stands proud in the centre of town. This traditional family run hotel has seen decades of life pass by in Macroom. You’ll get a taste of warm West Cork hospitality and a fine Irish welcome on the mat. Make a weekend of it with your date. Stay in one of the comfortable luxury rooms of the hotel and enjoy a feast in B’s Restaurant led by Head Chef Pat Ryan, who has gathered a formidable kitchen team, capable of great creative imagination and flair.
Presentation of all the local produce you’ll find on this menu is exquisite. Service is knowledgeable, provided by proud staff only too happy to showcase the foods of the region. An overnighter date in rural West Cork awaits.